Hello everyone! It’s January first and we’ve been slapped with a 3 week curfew over here. I’m in my pyjamas, coffee by my side, blasting some music and even though he situation’s a bit bleak right now, it’s time to look back at the year, with its highs and lows. That exercise alone always makes me feel better!
- After years of smug resistance, I buy a used display tablet from a friend. It takes me 0.3 seconds to fall in love with it.
- I get commissioned for a comic for la Maison de la littérature in Québec City and I do the cover of the Débrouillard’s special Art edition.
- I work on another comic, this time, for the FBDM’s “X” anthology. It’s my favorite commissioned comic in a while.
- Utown gets nominated at the Sequential Art Awards!
- Meanwhile, I start notice how increasingly awful I feel in the morning. I book an appointment at a sleep clinic and get diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. It sucks.
- It’s peak pandemic bullshit, I get tested after close friends catch it. There’s still a curfew in effect, I only see friends outside.
- I buy new running shoes and set a running goal for the year.
- I start working on a kid’s book project called “Bertrand et Moi”.
- I draw a new iconic storefront for a pop-up event in St-Henri.
- Suddently, everything happens! The Montreal Comic Art Festival is online again this year, so I do a few talks and live drawings.
- We have the pop-up event and it’s a success!
- I also get my first vaccine shot. Things are finally starting to look up, the province-wide curfew is lifted on my birthday.
- Boum and I give a lecture on webcomics and online promotion.
- Utown is coming along great.
- I have my first real panic attack in years, after weeks of horrible sleeping patterns. At this point, the CPAP machine and me are NOT on friendly terms.
- I get another Aggretsuko cover gig!
- Summer is full of bike rides, running and visits to my friend’s house (with a pool!!)
- I also buy 35mm film for my old camera and start taking photos again!
- After discovering podcasts and soundtracks for sleeping, I finally start having restful nights again.
- One of my best friend talks to me about an essay on weed he wants to write and I agree to illustrate it. We get a publishing deal like, ridiculously fast?! I immediately start sketching, while working on the kid’s book. Being an illustrator is weird.
- I find a weird, goblin cat (but I return it to its owner… sniff).
- I talk to Front Froid about a potential Hiver Nucléaire anthology.
- I work on everything, but I’m starting to get nervous about the deadline for Utown.
- I bring a few pages to ink at a cottage retreat with friends.
- I do another (!!) Aggretsuko cover, a new holiday card for the Comiccon in December and I plan and promote the shit out of my Thanksgiving Etsy sale.
- Axelle and me decide to pull the plug on the comic pitch we’ve been working on for the last few months. Sometimes you gotta pick your fights!
- Since I’m also in charge the book layout for our weed essay, I dust off my graphic design degree and browse fonts for hours. I profess my undying love to InDesign once more.
- First Comiccon in more than two years!
- I finish writing and storyboarding the last Utown chapter.
- The omicron variant sweeps over Quebec and until two days prior to Christmas, I don’t know if I’ll be able to see my family or not. No one shows symptoms so we get together.
- I pencil a few pages (and drink wine) between Christmas and New Years. Curfew is reinstated and we’ve come full circle!
- The little community that formed around Utown on Patreon and on social media. Each comment, each reaction is a little gift 🙂
- Utown is gonna be published!
- Buying more albums on Bandcamp, reading reviews, discovering new artists and generally getting more excited about music.
- Biking up the mountain became an activity that I actually looked forward to!
- Getting back into photography as a hobby is really fun!
- Obviously, getting diagnosed with sleep apnea was a huge blow.
- Pandemic fatigue, anxiety about *points everything* and using the CPAP machine made me very aware of my squishy insides. 3 AM online queries about heart diseases became a regular occurrence.
- Between the housing crisis, artists getting ripped off by NFT platforms and the frustrating fight for our own neighborhood’s right to peace and quiet, 2021 has been a ripe year for outrage. It’s kinda exhausting.
I reached a few of the goals I set last year, so that’s encouraging! Here’s what I wanna accomplish in 2022.
- Draw for myself after Utown is done. Fanart, illustrations, random characters, doodles, etc. After 3 years of black and white comic, it’s time to start playing again.
- Do things more mindfully.
- Run a 10k by the end of the season and bike to unexplored lands!
- Fall in love with movies again.
The Utown page update schedule is how I kept track of time over the last two years, one chapter bleeding into the other, month after month, scheduled update after scheduled update. Working from home during months of lockdown became very, very repetitive. So, going from mad production mode to book launch mode is gonna be a huge change of pace and honestly, I’m looking forward to it. Can you believe it? I have four books coming out next year. FOUR!! With that said, I think I need to take a break from comics for a while and try new things. So as always, thanks for reading and sticking by. Have a great 2022 everyone!